Studying Piano Theory – Is It Actually Necessary?

Some people and students think that learning piano theory is unnecessary, and just a waste of time. Many people in Singapore who want to learn to play the piano think that only practical lessons are required to truly play the piano well. However, we beg to differ. Theory lessons are still valuable aspects of the entire learning process. Whether you end up picking a private piano teacher or a public music school, a good one will definitely encourage you to take up theory.

The following are some common reasons why it is so beneficial for your journey as a pianist to also learn piano theory.

First and foremost, when you learn theory, you will learn how to read music. Some students who do not bother learning theory may have trouble eventually with reading sheet music, but not for students who have studied music theory extensively.

Second of all, you will also be better able to communicate with other fellow musicians. When you understand the language of music, you will be able to better complete your rehearsals (for combined playing at the higher grades/Diploma e.t.c.) along with your companion.

Next of all, when you understand music theory as well on top of playing the piano, you will get an added advantage as you can better understand why certain chords are used in certain places, and vice versa. This usually means that you can play the piano piece more expressively and with more dynamics. This will help you sound better, and if you are taking the ABRSM piano exams in Singapore, you will also score better!

Last but not least, with piano theory knowledge, you will also be able to eventually compose your own piano song. This is definitely a cool thing to be able to do, and help you become far more than just a pianist. You can also work as a composer in future for music production companies or even movie production companies.

Can You Make A Full Time Living In Singapore As A Piano Teacher?

Many of us in the music industry, and whom have learnt the piano when we were young developed a passion for it. However, is passion enough to keep you going? Can you make a full time income as a piano teacher in Singapore? Is it sustainable? Or is it just something to be treated as a hobby and part time thing? Let us explore some of these burning questions that many potential piano teachers in Singapore have.

Firstly, it depends on how much money you deem as ‘full time income’. Some people treat it as $2000. Others treat it as $6000. However, for the purpose of this article, we will look at the median salary of graduates in Singapore, which is $3000 to $4000. So if you want to match the salary, while truly being your own boss and be a private piano teacher in Singapore, we will need to consider certain factors.

An ABRSM piano grade 1 student will pay you around $120 to $140 per month for weekly 45 minute lessons, and a grade 8 student will pay you around $300 per month for weekly 1 hour piano lessons. This means an average of around $200 per month per student. With this average, to make $3500 a month, you will need approximately 18 students.

Let us just say that you only want to work for 5 days a week instead of all 7 days. This means you will need to teach around 4 students a day. As each lesson is around 1 hour long, and you will need to travel around to teach the various students, each music student including travelling time will be around 2 hours.

This means you work for approximately 8 hours a day, for 5 days a week and you will be making between $3500 to $4000. Keep in mind, as you are self employed, all of these cash will be yours to control (other than the legally taxable part). You will have as much cash per month as a person making around $4500 to $5000 a month because they need to make mandatory CPF contributions as a normal employee.

So in terms of the money, you definitely can make a full time income as a private piano teacher in Singapore. Of course, you will need to get a steady flow of students, as no matter how good you are, there will be some students who will graduate from Grade 8 or Diploma level, or simply stop learning entirely. If you are considering a full time or part time job as a self employed music teacher in Singapore, then consider applying to a private piano teacher-student agency in Singapore to get yourself kickstarted and have a steady inflow of students so you never need to worry about getting enough students! Of course, you also need to be a good teacher while they take care of your marketing otherwise you will not get many students as they will be afraid of recommending to you if you are a bad teacher.

Private Piano Lessons Vs Public Music Schools – Which Is Better?

Should you get a private piano teacher to teach your child in the comfort of your home or should you send your child to public music schools in Singapore like Yamaha or Kawai for Singapore piano lessons? Which is the better choice in terms of quality as well as prices? Let me share with you some of the points you may want to consider.

Price

Let us talk about prices. when it comes to prices, there is no question about it. Private piano lessons are far cheaper than school, and the biggest reason for that is that private piano teachers have barely any overhead expenses other than travelling and their past investment in their own piano playing proficiency.

Schools charge a lot for their students because you will need to cover their rental and administrative staff overhead costs. These do not come cheap – especially the rental in Singapore’s shopping malls for these schools. These schools usually also rent quite a big area, so their rental costs are high and has to be covered.

Teachers’ Qualifications

This is actually equally good as long as you verify their credentials. This is because private piano teachers and teachers who teach at a public music school in a shopping centre are usually certified ABRSM grade 8 or Diploma or they have a Trinity College certificate. Therefore, as long as you learn in Singapore, and ask for verification proof, the teachers have good qualifications

Quality Of Teaching

Of course, the quality of teaching is not necessarily correlated nor linked to the teacher’s music academic qualifications. This is about the teacher’s ability to teach.

There is no real way to say for sure if a private teacher or a school teacher will be better at teaching, so there is usually an element of chance here. However, if you find the teacher not good, make sure that you can easily get another teacher through the private piano teacher agency or the music school in Singapore. That way, you negate this point.

Convenience

If you stay in a condominium above a shopping mall which has a public music school, then going to the music school can be considered quite convenient. However, if you do not stay in such a condominium, you will probably find it very inconvenient to send your child to and fro from the public music school if he or she is still young. Even if he or she is older, you may be worried about him or her when travelling.

On the other hand, if you get a private teacher to give piano lessons to your child in the comfort of your home, then life can be very easy for you as a parent as well as for your child. Of course, this means that you should get lessons in your home, and not send your child to the teacher’s studio – otherwise this defeats the purpose and is the same as send your child to a public music school in terms of level of convenience.

As you can see from the above, it really is about what you value more. At the end of the day, teachers from both public music schools and private piano teachers in Singapore are all relatively decent. Whether they can click with your child you will only know after you engage them.